Before almost 16,000 screaming collegiate wrestling fans at Penn State’s Bryce Jordan Center, in an atmosphere rivaling any NHL or NBA game, Penn State’s wrestling team came close to upsetting coach Tom Brands’ No. 1 Iowa Hawkeyes.
Undefeated Iowa (13-0) won six of 10 bouts and at least a share of the Big Ten’s regular season championship. Penn State (10-3) has now lost three close duals to Big Ten foes that could easily gone the other way, but it’s been type of season for Coach Cael Sanderson’s Lions.
The dual started at 125 lbs. where Iowa’s Thomas Gilman defeated Jordan Conaway…barely. Conaway was in deep on a TD with seconds remaining in the bout but was unable to convert. Sophomore Jimmy Gulibon then electrified the fans with a four-point move in the last 30 seconds to defeat long time rival Cory Clark an 8-5 at 133 pounds. At 141 Iowa’s Josh Dziewa dominated Kade Moss and 149 lb. redshirt freshman Brandon Sorensen won a close bout against Penn State’s Zach Beitz. The last bout before intermission saw Iowa’s Mike Kelly defeat junior Luke Frey 7-4 in a closely contested bout.
Penn State came back after the break seemingly re-energized as Garett Hammond (165) upset seventh-ranked Nick Moore with a late takedown and a 4-2 win. In the 7th meeting between All American seniors Matt Brown (174) and Mike Evans, Penn State’s wrestler prevailed 2-0. Penn State’s redshirt freshman Matt McCutheon then was dominated by #8 ranked Sammy Brooks 7-1. At this point in the match Iowa led 15-9. Morgan McIntosh (197) pulled Penn State within three points with a convincing 7-1 win over Iowa’s #6 ranked Nathan Burak but Iowa sent out giant Bobby Telford who handled Jimmy Lawson with a 3-0 win at heavyweight to clinch the dual for the Hawkeyes.
The Hawkeyes took control of the individual matchups early and often. Iowa wrestlers scored first in six bouts and hit opening takedowns in three of the first five bouts. Penn State wrestled hard and looked to be the better conditioned team but it just wasn’t meant to be as Iowa sent the huge home crowd home unhappy.